employee engagement

#WorkTrends: Is Your Team Really Motivated?

Gregg LedermanWhen it comes to employee management and engagement, a large body of research indicates that respect, purpose and relationships are more effective than money. So why are so many organizations still struggling to move the needle on worker engagement?

On this week’s episode of #WorkTrends, we discuss these issues —and a few creative answers — with author and employee engagement expert Gregg Lederman, who shares valuable lessons from his new book, “Crave.”

Lederman is a sought-after speaker, best-selling author and president of employee engagement at Reward Gateway, an employee engagement company. He is also the founder of Brand Integrity, a leadership development and employee engagement company. For the past 16 years he has worked with leading organizations to implement sustainable engagement solutions.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode. This episode is brought to you by our friends Reward Gateway.

A Management Problem

Lederman says he was moved to write his book after diving into the huge body of social science research on employee engagement going back to the 1930s. He started to realize that organizations were either not understanding the research or not deploying it in ways that optimized the engagement in the customer experience.

“It is not the employees’ fault,” he says. “This is a management issue. We have a management engagement crisis.”

Lederman argues that the engagement issue has more of an “energy crisis.” “Companies are buying the energy of their people, and they’re not getting it all because [the employees] are not as motivated and committed to doing what’s best for the company as they could be,” he says.

What People Crave

Lederman says that if you look at the engagement numbers from 2000, when Gallup started first polling on the issue, and compare them with 2018, they have changed by only about 4 percentage points. Meanwhile, he says, the amount of money companies are spending to try to fix the engagement issue is up 115 percent in the past five years.

“That is almost $8 billion spent last year to try to fix the engagement issues that we have,” he says. “Yet engagement is barely budging. The answer is in the book. It’s in the title, frankly — the reason people are not engaged at work is they’re not getting enough of what they crave.”

He says research is clear that motivation is intrinsic, rather than something we do to people, and that you can’t “beg for more or bribe people for it. People are going to decide each day whether or not they are going to tap into that intrinsic motivation and be more committed to the organization.”

Lederman has summarized the research into three concepts. The first thing that humans crave is to be respected for who they are and what they do. The second concept is purpose. “Help me see the purpose, the meaning, the impact of my work,” he says. And the third is relationships, particularly a worker’s relationship with his or her boss.

“You have to learn how to genuinely and very strategically capture and share successes and help people to see that what they do is important and that they matter,” he says. “When you do that, you’re not just showing them respect and helping them see the purpose, you are strengthening a relationship with them.”

10 Minutes by Friday

The subtitle of Lederman’s book is “You Can Enhance Motivation in 10 Minutes by Friday,” which hints at the simple ways he suggests for leaders to implement some of his ideas to boost engagement.

“At least once a month, take 10 minutes to stop, witness and share a success inside your organization of someone living your values, delivering your hospitality experience, doing something to drive your strategy forward — and connect that to a business result,” he says.

“There is a three-step process for how you do the actual recognition to make it strategic, but that’s it: 10 minutes a month if you want to be good. If you want to be amazing, and literally almost instantly become a better leader, challenge yourself to do it 10 minutes a week. It’s not easy, but that’s the 10 minutes by Friday challenge that our organization Reward Gateway is putting out there in front of folks.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific, or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

workplace connections

#WorkTrends: Bring Your Human to Work with Erica Keswin

Erica Keswin #WorkTrendsErica Keswin, a workplace strategist who recently published a fascinating new book, “Bring Your Human to Work,” recalls a chat with a CEO who shared how nine people in his company had a seemingly normal conference call.

“After the call they realized that all nine people had called in to the conference call from the same building,” Keswin says on the latest episode of the #WorkTrends podcast. “In other words, they were a couple of steps, an elevator bank, a cubicle, away from each other. It was so foreign from my own work experience, but I began to wonder what would make someone forgo the opportunity to connect with their colleagues face-to-face.”

The anecdote helped move her to explore more deeply why people aren’t connecting in the workplace, eventually leading her to collect her findings in the book, which offers offers 10 ways to transform your workplace by honoring human relationships. It’s an important discussion that encourages us to look beyond the HR technology we so often focus on and give the human aspect of HR its due.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

Find the Technology Sweet Spot

Keswin says that while she’s far from anti-technology, she believes it’s important for organizations to find the “sweet spot” between leveraging everything that’s amazing about tech and knowing when to put technology in its place and connect in a more human way. She’s also adamant that technology, when used, should align with our culture and values.

“Unless we are very disciplined and intentional about how we connect with our clients, with our colleagues and even with ourselves, it often doesn’t happen,” she says. “It does impact us as people and the bottom line of our businesses. This is not a touchy-feely, feel-good thing. This has true bottom-line implications.”

Mind Your Meetings

Keswin notes that a chapter in her book called “Mind Your Meetings” details how many workers sit in meetings for hours upon hours, often multitasking. “People don’t even start to do their real work until everybody goes home,” she says. “For me, these meetings are an opportunity to go into a much deeper form of connection with the people in the meeting. However, it’s often the opposite that’s happening — that people come in, they sit around the table and everybody’s multitasking, texting, under the table.

She suggests organizations consider limiting technology in some meetings, a shift she says will have three positive effects. First, meetings are shorter because people are less distracted. People are also generally less likely to be offended because they get sufficient attention from their less-distracted colleagues, which can help improve relationships within the office. And the third benefit to low-tech meetings, she says, is that they generally increase the substance of the conversation.

Be Intentional About Being Real

Keswin says the key to making sure we’re showing up to work and being real-life people every day comes down to being intentional. “We’re not bad people, but many of us really want to get to inbox zero, and we’re prioritizing that over some of these human connections,” she says. “The technology is built to give us this hit of dopamine every time we send an email. I think about being intentional, and in the book I divide it up into these three P’s: prioritize, positioning and protocol.”

She says everyone, but particularly leaders, needs to prioritize relationships and create opportunities for real human connections — even if people think they’re too busy.

“I advise you to ask yourself this one very telling question: ‘Does your calendar reflect your values?’ ” she says. “That one question really pushes people to look at how busy they are, but also what they are doing under this umbrella of business. Is it aligned with their values, the values of their company, and pushing themselves to be more intentional, strategic and carve out time to connect with people in other ways?”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific, or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

workplace diversity

#WorkTrends: How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality

New research shows that diversity and inclusion are a top priority for leaders. So why does the needle seem to be moving backward when it comes to gender equality at work?

On this week’s episode of the #WorkTrends podcast we dive into some of the answers with Dorothy Dalton, who is working to shift the conversation about men, women, work and bias.

Based in Belgium, Dalton has been working in talent management and recruitment for many years. She runs her own executive search firm and has founded an organization to help professional women reach their potential. In our conversation she offered important insights into how we can start to transform the modern workplace to make it more equal and inclusive for everyone.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

Make It More Than an HR Issue

Dalton, an expert on gender-neutral and bias-conscious recruitment, says one of the challenges when it comes to diversity in the workplace is that people see it as an HR issue rather than an overall business issue.

“What we need for any cultural transformation to be effective are the three pillars: leadership commitment, systemic change and behavioral change,” she says. “What we’re doing is we’re cherry-picking a bit because no one really likes to change. All of us are quite locked into our old ways of doing things, so it really is part of an overall business transformation, not an HR problem to be solved with a few little training sessions — which is, quite honestly, the way people tend to go about it.”
Don’t Expect Progress to Just Happen
Dalton says that while every generation tends to think they are more understanding than the previous one when it comes to workplace diversity issues, the progress isn’t always so linear.

She says that when her own daughter, an older millennial, entered the workplace, she was horrified to discover that gender and diversity issues hadn’t progressed much. Dalton says we all have certain biases, and those shouldn’t be demonized, but they can’t be ignored either if we want to truly create more equitable workplaces.

“It’s really normal to have opinions and biases, but we have to set up procedures and processes, checks and balances, to make sure that we’re on track to make better business decisions,” she says.

She says research shows that most of us think we don’t have biases and that we behave correctly, but digging deeper reveals we have plenty of biases. “We’re still at a very primal level,” she says.

Take Steps for Change

Dalton offers a number of ways organizations can make an impact right now in their own companies, starting with how they recruit. “Women tend to look for promotional opportunities within their own organizations,” she says. “If they look outside then it tends to be in response to usually external circumstances — either a change in their personal lives or a takeover, a merger, or something’s not working.

“Organizations may have to have gender-neutral adverts. They have to have put the flex opportunities [and] remote working upfront because women are afraid to ask because they feel they’re discriminated because of it — and they are.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific, or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more. On this week’s episode of #WorkTrends we talk to Dorothy Dalton about the work she’s doing to shift the conversation about men, women, work and bias.

workforce evolution

#WorkTrends: How the Workforce Is Changing

Alexandra LevitWhile Generation Z and an army of robots aren’t about to take over your office any time soon, who we work with and how we work together is still all changing very fast. In this week’s episode we talk to author and consultant Alexandra Levit about the major trends affecting the workplace of tomorrow and why it’s a competitive advantage to have a flexible and systemized contract workforce.

Levit works to prepare organizations and their employees for meaningful careers in the future workplace. The former columnist for The Wall Street Journal and writer for The New York Times, Fast Company and Forbes has authored several books, including the international best-seller “They Don’t Teach Corporate in College” and her new book “Humanity Works: Merging Technologies and People for the Workforce of the Future.”

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

Demographic Shifts

Levit says organizations are already being affected by the changing demographics of who is available to work, particularly aging baby boomers who are remaining in the workforce after retirement age — often on their own terms.

“They’re available to work but the model in which they’re available to work is slightly different,” she says. “Many organizations are not prepared for that because these are people who even if they worked 60 to 80 hours in their prime are not willing to do that anymore. We have to really think of ways to allow these individuals to continue to contribute in meaningful ways.”

She notes that the population in developing countries is growing much more quickly than the population in developed countries, which she says means nations such as India and China are going to be exporting more qualified workers in most professions. Consequently, more individuals will be available for virtual work and remote work, often while charging lower fees than similar professionals in the U.S. and European nations.

Automation and AI

When it comes to automation and artificial intelligence and their impact on the workforce, Levit takes a largely optimistic view. “Until machines develop consciousness, there’s going to be no real way for them to take over every aspect of a human role,” she says. “There are still very unique human skills like judgment, empathy, interpersonal conflict resolution, creativity, that are very difficult for machines to replicate.”

Rather, she foresees the rise of human-machine hybrid teams in which machines will take over tasks of certain jobs — and she says deploying and maintaining those tools will likely create new jobs.

“I know one organization that’s working on a chatbot for their onboarding function,” she says. “… This chatbot has involved no fewer than 15 to 20 human employees, so that’s a whole bunch of human people who now have jobs because we’re deploying a chatbot. This is going to continue to happen. As we try to figure out how to best use technology and how to best deploy robots, we’re still going to need a lot of people.”

Managing Contract Workers

To find and maximize talent, Levit says organizations need to systematize their contract workforce — and they need to do it now because the contract world is going to play an even larger and more complex role moving forward.

“The way that it’s happening in most organizations today is that there’ll be a manager from one team who brings in someone, there’ll be a manager from another team who brings in another person,” she says. “And there will be no rhyme or reason to how that person is recruited, how they are onboarded or how their performance is evaluated.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific, or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

global workforce

#WorkTrends: The Global Workforce

People around the world are more connected than ever before, and workers are jumping at the chance to relocate. This week on #WorkTrends we’re joined by Steve Black, co-founder of the HR tech company Topia. He shares new research about the state of the global workforce and employees’ perspective on relocating. This episode is sponsored by Topia.

Black explains how he founded the company seven years ago with CEO Brynne Kennedy, and how the business was driven by their personal frustrations as expats as well as the challenges their employers at the time faced moving people around the world.

“Thinking about mobility from a corporate perspective is really about getting the best talent in the best seat regardless of where that is in the world,” Black says.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

Generational Split

Black dives into a recent survey the company commissioned on mobility, exploring the differences in opinions and perceptions between individuals within large organizations and leadership teams.

Among the findings was an interesting generational split when it comes to expectations and desires regarding mobility. Specifically, millennials and subsequent generations are much more likely to seek out global experience quickly compared with previous generations.

“They’re looking at it as a career development opportunity rather than an income-generating opportunity,” he says. “They’re willing to move to a new location without a promotion or without a pay raise because they see the opportunity for career progression and growth.”

Gender Divide

Black says the survey data helped put hard numbers around workforce dynamics that had been generally recognized in the business world but not detailed. For example, the survey found that 57 percent of men over the course of their careers had an experience of mobility as part of their career, compared with 40 percent of women.

He says this divide is an important metric to explore as business moves toward more gender equity because a key criteria for representation in the C-suite and on boards of directors is often global experience.

“We’re in an interesting chicken-and-egg situation of until we solve the multi-gender splits within mobility, it’s going to continue to be a blocker and challenge down the road in terms of career progression,” he says.

Tech Solutions

Black says he’s seen organizations and their mobility teams struggle over the past decade-plus with carving out enough time to do the hands-on support, counseling and strategic planning elements of HR. The causes, he says, are often resource-intensive compliance tasks that are a part of mobility, such as manually creating documents and interacting with vendors.

“That balance has ended up with much of mobility being more of an operational function than many of the folks in it would like to be,” he says. “That’s where we’re really starting to see technology come into play and chip away at.”

Black says emerging technologies are automating mobility tasks, from assignment letters and repayments to complex cost forecasts for multi-year assignments around the globe. “You’ve eliminated hours of manual time spent gathering information and doing somewhat menial tasks,” he says. “And you’ve freed up time to counsel, support and talk to the rest of the business around outcome ability — and drive talent strategy rather than reacting to it in an operational way.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Thank you to Topia for sponsoring this episode of #WorkTrends.

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific, or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

HR change

#WorkTrends: Smoothing Out Your Messy HR Processes

HR is at a crossroads. Technology is making it easier to streamline messy, time-consuming HR processes, but where does that leave HR teams? On this week’s episode, longtime HR pro Ryan Higginson-Scott of PeopleDoc joins us to share answers every HR team needs.

An innovative HR leader with more than 15 years of experience spanning business partnerships, shared services and strategic program design, Higginson-Scott works to optimize the employee experience, enhancing both engagement and productivity.

He has helped organizations develop and scale HR/people operations as an advocate for continuous process improvement, operational efficiency, legal compliance and self-service enablement for managers and employees.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

Managing Change

Higginson-Scott has extensive experience managing others through process change, and he shares some of the challenges he has faced helping others adapt, along with the strategies he’s relied on to overcome those roadblocks.

“My number one priority in managing change, helping people adapt to change or even helping them accept that change is imminent is to help them find the value in the change,” he says. “Everyone’s human, and they have their reasons for their perspective. I’ve talked people into change, and I’ve talked people out of change when it was the right thing to do.”

He shares a fascinating example of working with an already efficient payroll department on implementing a new piece of technology that was essential but that primarily benefited HR. He explains how he ultimately, through conversations with payroll, discovered one of his biggest pain points overlapped really well with one of payroll’s biggest pain points — which was a challenge they didn’t necessarily realize was a problem. That prompted both departments to look at a different technology that was a solution for both of their problems.

“I’ve worked in a number of different industries and different teams,” he says. “It’s always important to find the right way to communicate with teams and individuals who think differently from you.”

Helping People Adapt to Automation

The rapid pace of technology change in the HR world, particularly when it comes to automation, can be a source of anxiety for people who wonder if they’re going to lose their jobs with the elimination of manual work. Higginson-Scott says including those workers in the implementation of change can help reduce some of that consternation.

“Technology has changed HR more in the last few years than I ever would have expected,” he says. “It’s scary when we start talking about automation and self-service. It feels like the whole role of HR is changing in general. How do people on the front lines, people whose job it is to be tactical and transactional, navigate that change? For me, it’s always been really important to include them in the process and to have them help drive not only the immediate change, but actually be part of the road map design.”

Looking Ahead

With technology reshaping HR, Higginson-Scott talks about his approach to handling the technology and also trends he’s seeing in the space.

“Something I’ve found really interesting lately — because really it’s a move away from the big bang, one-size-fits-all enterprise approach to technology, for the most part,” he says. “It’s become about collaborating between the right tools in each area of HR, to help the teams build the right employee experience and improve efficiency and productivity on both sides of the table.”

He says that while HR departments don’t necessarily have to have a tech-focused person at the helm, organizations should invest time and resources in keeping up with technology trends.

“Business partners, COE leaders, anyone can contribute to or take on management of any of these tools and upscaling around technology and innovation,” he says. “Being part of that process is really where I think everyone in HR needs to spend some time and put some of their focus.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

  • HR tech news:
    News release: Ultimate Software Enters into Binding Letter of Intent to Acquire PeopleDoc for HR Service Delivery.
  • Ryan Higginson-Scott at PeopleDoc on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific, or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

This episode is sponsored by PeopleDoc.

#WorkTrends: The Way We Work

The way we work is changing — fast. Where we work, who we work with and how we get work done is all evolving. On this week’s episode we talk to Sarah Travers, CEO of the co-working space Workbar, and to one head of recruiting who thinks remote working and co-working aren’t going anywhere.

Travers is a longtime co-working evangelist. She has spent her entire career selling the idea of co-working, first at IWG (Regus), a global provider of flexible workspace solutions. She joined Workbar in late 2017. She has the unique perspective of witnessing the industry’s explosive growth — as both a seasoned veteran of the world’s largest shared office giant and as the CEO of Boston’s original co-working space.

She shares her thoughts on where the industry is headed and why co-working is so much more than either a physical space or the popular image of a collection of young digital nomads working on computers in a shared space.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

Making Connections

Travers says co-working is often defined as a group of individuals working together in a shared communal setting, which evokes the idea of a young digital workers in an open room focusing on their own tasks — a concept she says “couldn’t be further from the truth.” Rather, she says, users often find the co-working atmosphere inspiring and valuable because it offers the opportunity to make connections and work beside people from all different types of businesses and companies.

She says co-working users are also drawn to businesses development opportunities through classes, event programming and networking at new member lunches or happy hours. “There are just a lot of ways to grow your own personal and professional network in this space,” she says. “It just goes beyond that sort of original idea of a bunch of millennials sitting with headphones typing away in one big room.”

Changing Demographics and Needs

Travers says her company’s research clearly debunks the idea that co-working spaces are just for millennials or people in technology. She says Workbar members cut across a number of industries and have an average age of 38 or 39. They are also increasingly employees of large organizations.

“I think that you also hear that only individuals and small teams use co-working space,” she says. “We have seen that Fortune 500 companies often use co-working for not just for remote employees but also for groups as a way to sort of drive innovation outside of a traditional headquarters.”

What’s Driving Growth

Travers says co-working is clearly no longer thought of as just a short-term trend or a solution for people who don’t want to work from their kitchen table or in a coffee shop. She says one factor driving the increasing popularity of co-working spaces is a cultural shift away from merely clocking in and out of work and toward getting more satisfaction and meaning from our jobs.

“There’s a real value proposition behind it that’s been embraced by a larger audience as some of the big players in the industry both on the landlord and the tenant side,” she says. “The landlords have awareness that they need to evolve their offerings more to meet the changing environments. On the flip side, the tenants are more focused on the need to enjoy the experience of the office environment.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific, or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

#WorkTrends: How AI Will Change HR

We have big news this week in the #WorkTrends community. We’re re-launching the podcast, and we’re welcoming back an old friend, Kevin W. Grossman, as my #WorkTrends co-host. We’re also changing up our format. Each episode of #WorkTrends will now include a quick look at what’s happening in the world of HR tech, plus interviews with people who are doing interesting work in HR and leadership.

On this week’s episode we’re talking everything AI — what it really means, what HR leaders need to know and how it’s going to reshape the way we work. For a look at where artificial intelligence and automation are already taking HR, we’re turning to my friend and expert Ben Eubanks, an analyst at Lighthouse Research as well as a podcaster, blogger and author of a forthcoming book on artificial intelligence in HR.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

AI for Recruiting

Over the past several years AI has transcended its status as a cultural buzzword and found its way into practical applications for many HR leaders. Eubanks says the most prominent AI use case in HR is probably on the recruiting side, because of the sheer size of the problem that talent acquisition presents for large organizations. Chatbots are already enabling companies to take on some conversations with candidates without having to have a recruiter physically sitting in front of them.

“The more volume there is, the easier it is to try to automate that and more value there is,” he says. “When I was interviewing someone for the book, we were talking about what things you should prioritize, and they said if it’s got a high volume and there’s a high cost of making an error, those are the things you really want to automate.”

Improving the Candidate Experience

Eubanks says his discussions with HR leaders indicate the initial reaction by candidates to these types of automations in recruiting has been surprisingly positive. Candidates seem to be appreciative of any chance to break through the often-opaque job-search process and have a chance to have their voices heard — even if it’s by a piece of software.

He says one manager told him candidates often go through a dialogue with a bot about their desired positions, submit their resume, then say “thank you” before signing off. “Candidates love it, because they have a chance to really feel like someone is listening to them,” he says.

Sentiment Analysis

Beyond recruitment, Eubanks says there are already a handful of companies successfully leveraging intelligent automation to perform sentiment analysis to suss out valuable trends in large employee surveys — a process that would take humans hours upon hours.

“What if we had a tool, a piece of technology, that would automatically go through that, not just look at what the issues are, what the trends are, but also look at the sentiment, the underlying emotions and moods of the employees?” he says. “You find out, ‘wait a minute, all the people in this function over here are actually kind of upset’ — or ‘people that are working in this office, this location, are actually having some issues with infrastructure or management or communication.’ ”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific, or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

managing benefits

#WorkTrends: How to Untangle Benefits Headaches

If you want to attract and keep a top-notch talent pool, employee benefits are more important than ever. But for company leaders and HR teams, benefits are also a huge headache.

This week on #WorkTrends, we’re talking to Rachel Lyubovitzky, the CEO of EverythingBenefits. She calls benefits “the last frontier” in HR tech, and she thinks it’s high time we solve some of our biggest benefits headaches. Her team is on a mission to automate and streamline manual and paper-based benefits processes.

Making Compliance Easier

Here’s a word that will make pretty much anyone want to hide under their desk: compliance. Lyubovitzky gives COBRA compliance as an example. COBRA is the pre-internet law designed to ensure that employees who are on a group plan can keep their health coverage if they lose their job. “Because it is a pre-internet law, the compliance relies heavily on paperwork,” Lyubovitzky says. “However, technology takes the burden away from the employer and makes the compliance proactive versus reactive.”

For example, the right technology can detect potential compliance concerns and alert the employer, shortening the burdensome the COBRA compliance process to just a few seconds. Lyubovitzky says the key is to make sure your HR technology wraps around the business and the individual — not the other way around.

Reconciling Benefits and Controlling Costs

Reconciling benefits is another tedious process made easier by technology. “Benefits reconciliation is an automated way to check carrier invoices against the benefits enrollment data to highlight any billing irregularities,” Lyubovitzky says.

We’ve all heard horror stories about companies that miss paying a premium, enroll an employee in the wrong plan or end up paying thousands of dollars for terminated or retired employees. “Obviously it’s awful when employees lose coverage or are enrolled in the wrong program, but it’s also a huge burden for the company,” she says. Imagine trying to track 1,000 employees and how much data you would need to compare each month.

“Benefits reconciliation makes this process completely automatic and, in addition to saving time and money, it’s a great tool to help companies avoid potential liability,” Lyubovitzky says.

Companies also struggle to understand and uncover hidden benefits costs. She points to new estimates that in 2019, benefits will cost employers $15,000 per employee per year. Some organizations may be paying benefits for employees who are no longer with the company, while others may be paying for family coverage for a single employee. “If this is happening with one or two employees it might not sound like a big deal, but imagine scaling that across a larger group of employees, and a longer timeframe.”

The Future of Employee Benefits

Lyubovitzky predicts that we’ll see benefits take on an increased prominence in years to come. Employers will use benefits as a key differentiator. Those benefits might take on new forms, she says, like flex work schedules, remote work, and richer benefit portfolios that include legal services, pet insurance, and tuition reimbursement.

Her key piece of advice for people who manage benefits? “Start by looking at what’s taking a lot of your time. What’s manual? Where are the errors coming from? What’s giving you a headache? And the look for solutions for optimizing. Automation is really the key in solving a lot of business problems.”

To learn more from Lyubovitzky and the EverythingBenefits team, read their new e-book, “Get Your Escalating Benefits Costs Under Control.

This episode of #WorkTrends is sponsored by EverythingBenefits.

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.


Building a More Inclusive Workplace with SurveyMonkey

#WorkTrends: Building a More Inclusive Workplace with SurveyMonkey

While inclusion is the new buzzword, do companies really know what it means? How many companies are truly creating an inclusive work culture? How many even know how to?

This week on WorkTrends, we’re talking to Leela Srinivasan, chief marketing officer at SurveyMonkey. She has impressive chops in the world of HR tech and can share advice that any leader can use to build a more inclusive workplace.

You can listen to the full episode below, or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.


Inclusion Doesn’t Happen By Chance

SurveyMonkey takes a variety of approaches to create an inclusive work environment. “We have four employee resource groups (ERGs), which are designed to provide support and inspiration to different populations within SurveyMonkey who are underrepresented minorities,” Srinivasan says. There is a Latinos group, which was founded to support black and Latin employees, an LGBTQ plus group, a women-in-the-workplace group and a separate group for “women who tech,” designed to further the careers of self-identified female engineers.

But even with those four ERGs, the company believes it’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure that SurveyMonkey is a diverse and inclusive workforce. It’s not just an HR program — the company engages the entire organization. In addition to the ERGs, there are four office committees — at the headquarters at San Mateo, California; in Portland, Oregon; in Ottawa, Ontario; and in Dublin. “The idea is to make sure that we, on a local level, celebrate important and culturally significant events.”

For instance, Pride Month is celebrated across all four offices. Also, the Goldie Speaker Series — named for Dave Goldberg, the company’s late CEO — provides an opportunity to discuss diversity and inclusion issues as a team, and hear from inspiring trailblazers.

Companies often struggle to measure their inclusion efforts, SurveyMonkey worked with Paradigm and Stanford University to develop a template of three drivers that are fundamental to building an inclusive workforce.

Inclusion Driver 1: Growth Mindset

Organizations that have a growth mindset believe that talent isn’t necessarily fixed and that people, whoever they are, can evolve and learn. “The converse of that growth mindset is a fixed mindset, which means you think people are either talented or they’re not, and it creates what we would call a culture of genius.” A culture of genius hinders true inclusion, because not everyone will feel that they can learn, grow and have the best opportunities at the company.

Inclusion Driver 2: A Culture of Belonging

When SurveyMonkey was in the process of building the template, it surveyed about 10,000 people to ensure the methodology was sound. “When we ran this survey, 25 percent of workers told us that they feel like they don’t belong at their organization. That jumps to nearly a third for black workers,” Srinivasan says. If you haven’t created a culture where everyone truly belongs, Srinivasan says this is going to run counter to your efforts to build an inclusive culture.

Inclusion Driver 3: Objectivity

The third driver, objectivity, is the perception that people can advance based on fair and transparent criteria. Take compensation, for example. In the survey, 60 percent of employees thought their compensation was fair. “However, when we looked at the data and sliced it by ethnicity, we found that less than half of black employees agreed that compensation was fair,” Srinivasan says.

“Those were the three drivers, and it’s very clear from the stats, the survey, and what we know to be true that we really do have our work cut out in building truly inclusive cultures.”

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

HR tech conference

#WorkTrends: What to Expect at HR Tech 2018

This year’s HR Technology Conference will be Sept. 11-14 in Las Vegas. How has the industry changed in the past few years, and what can you expect at this year’s conference?

Steve BoeseSteve Boese is co-chairman of the conference, the world’s largest gathering of the HR technology community. He’s also a writer/editor for Human Resource Executive magazine and he created and co-hosts the HR Happy Hour podcast on Blog Talk Radio.

For over 15 years Boese has been focused on the implementation of technology solutions to solve business problems, working with organizations ranging from telecommunications to consulting to higher education. He also developed a graduate course in HR technology for the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.

Boese gave us a preview of the conference and talked about industry changes. You can listen to the full episode below or keep reading for a recap of our conversation. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.

Companies Are Investing in HR

The HR Tech conference has really grown in the past few years, and Boese attributes that to a number of factors. “In general we’ve seen improving economic and business conditions, certainly here in the U.S. but in a lot of other countries as well, since the end of the recession,” he says. The climate is better and he says organizations are willing to invest again.

“There’s an increased need for organizations to better compete and deploy human capital. With a record number of job openings and near-record highs in the average time to fill a job in the United States, companies are looking toward technologies to help them manage those challenges and opportunities.”

In addition, he says, a lot of investment dollars are being pumped into HR tech, and that’s spurring innovation because a lot of smart people are rushing into the area to build new technologies.

“Also, many companies are finally moving off of older legacy, often installed, systems to choose some of these modern, mobile, cloud-based, consumer-like and increasingly intelligent technologies deployed in the cloud,” he says. “So the pace of innovation has been really, really high in the last five years, and companies have had more money to spend.”

AI Is Piquing Curiosity

Boese says a tiny percentage of companies have deployed AI in HR departments. But through pre-registration surveying, HR Tech organizers know that four of the five sessions generating the most interest are AI sessions. “We’re seeing more and more technology providers — most of the large ones and many smaller ones as well, including startups — trying to deploy AI and smart technologies across a number of processes, whether it’s service delivery, HR help desk stuff, scheduling, recruiting and trying to schedule interviews, even some on trying to help potential candidates find the right job to apply to.”

Boese says there are also interesting developments regarding employee performance and coaching. On the learning and development side, there are systems to help employers understand their employees. “What can we learn from your profile? What can we learn from your preferences? How can we provide intelligent recommendations about the assignments, the job opportunities, the learning and development opportunities that we’d like to present to you that will align with what we think your goals are and where you want to take your career?”

He doesn’t see AI replacing a lot of HR jobs. It will supplement what people do, but not replace them. “I think there’s still lots of great opportunity for people in HR and in other domains to work alongside with, in consultation with and in coordination with these technologies.”

What to Expect at the HR Tech Conference

The conference will have four days of content, in addition to pre-conference activities. There will be several keynote speakers, including one that Boese said will be a surprise. Announced keynote speakers include Mike Rowe from Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs.” He’ll be talking about work, the workplace and the value of every job,” Boese says. “We get caught up in what’s happening in tech companies, but not everyone is working on an app in Silicon Valley, and Rowe is going to challenge you to think differently about jobs.”

HR Executive magazine publishes an annual list of the most admired companies for HR, and four or five of the CHROs from those companies will be on the CHRO panel. In addition, there will be about 70 sessions and lots of tech demonstrations.

This year also marks the first startup pitch-fest. “So, we’re going to have 60 startups exhibiting in our startup pavilion,” Boese says. “Thirty of those startups will compete in our pitch-fest, and the winner gets a $30,000 prize.”

The Women in HR Tech Summit will take place on the first day of the conference. “It was designed to showcase and help give a spotlight to so many of the incredibly talented and successful women leaders and founders in the HR technology industry,” Boese says. There’s no additional charge for the summit — it’s included in the conference registration.

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

the shift kimberly white

#WorkTrends: How Seeing People as People Changes Everything

When you think about your co-workers, what do you see? Do you picture mere objects who only exist to help you accomplish your goals, or do you see them as human beings?the shift book cover

This week on #WorkTrends, we’re talking to author Kimberly White. Her new book, “The Shift: How Seeing People as People Changes Everything,” tells a story about how changing our perspective on the people around us can have dramatic consequences on employee engagement, the quality of relationships and how we see the world.

You can listen to the full episode below, or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.


What Does ‘The Shift’ Mean?

Here’s the big idea from the book: Can we shift out of a mindset where the only thing we care about is ourselves — and start thinking about what’s going on with other people?

White was researching a company that owned nursing homes. She didn’t have much experience being in nursing homes, but when she visited one of the facilities she was blown away. Every employee she encountered was completely engaged in their work, loved what they were doing and felt grateful to be there. “It was like being wrapped in a warm hug. It was so invigorating to be in an environment where everybody really cared about everybody else.”

She realized they had shifted their mindset.

“The shift is about changing from seeing people as objects to seeing them as people. Often we have automatic knee-jerk reactions to other people that are more like the way we react to objects than the way we ought to react to real people.

“If I have an actual object like a pen, it comes from the factory and it exists for me, for the consumer, to use. That’s what it’s for. If it doesn’t produce ink, if it doesn’t write smoothly, then I’m going to shake it to make it do the thing it’s supposed to do. I don’t talk to the pen and say ‘What’s going on, pen? How are you feeling today? Are you sad? Is that why you’re not producing?’ No, because it is just an object. It doesn’t have an internal life. It doesn’t have feelings. It doesn’t have reasons. Often, we find ourselves treating other people the same way.”

When we see people for who they truly are — the way we understand our best friends, our close family members or our children — our perspective is totally different. “If I were driving down the highway and somebody cut me off, and I looked over and saw that it was my beloved best friend, I wouldn’t think ‘Oh, what a jerk.’ I’d think ‘Oh, my gosh, what’s going on? What has happened in her life to make her drive this way? There must be some sort of an emergency.’

“Because in that case, her internal life and her reasons matter to me. When I see a person as a person, I see their internal motivations and the reasons for their behavior. When I see somebody as an object, I just see what they’ve done that bothers me. All I see is how their behavior is interfering with the stuff I’m trying to do, and I don’t give any thought to why they’re doing it, and what rationale and understandable reasons they might have.”

Powerful stuff, right? Can you imagine how different the world (and our workplaces) would be if we all did that 5 percent more?

How Can Leaders Encourage a Shift?

I asked White how leaders can build an organization where people value and respect each other. Her very first tip? “Leaders have to do it too.” They have to walk the walk and show that they care about employees. “The people who are on the ground floor of any enterprise deserve respect from their leaders,” she says. “So many initiatives fail because people don’t think their boss really cares about them as a person.

“Your employees do not exist just to do the job. They have their own backstories. They have their own perspectives. They have a lot of background, and hopes, and dreams, and fears, and insights. If you see that person as just an object, you’re missing out on all of that stuff. You can’t possibly be an effective leader if you simply don’t know what’s going on with the people.”

Amen to that!

Let’s continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

on-demand talent

#WorkTrends: The Future of Work: On-Demand Talent

The future of work is going to look radically different as it will be fueled by on-demand talent. And perhaps no one will be more affected by this disruption than HR. But what will those changes look like and is HR prepared for this shift?

This week on WorkTrends, we’re talking to Carisa Miklusak. She is an HR tech veteran who worked for CareerBuilder for many years. Three years ago, she founded tilr (TILL-err), a technology platform that automates the recruitment process for job seekers and companies. Her goal is to shrink the skills gap and eliminate bias in hiring. In this conversation, we talk through misconceptions about the gig economy and how some traditional hiring methods might not work with the contingent workforce.

You can listen to the full episode below or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.

Misconceptions About the Gig Economy

Many people think that gig work applies to either younger people, low-skill workers or people who couldn’t get W2 jobs, but Miklusak says it’s really quite the opposite. “What I’d love for HR people to hear and take away is that people are choosing to work differently and they have more options of how to work, and they’re starting to develop new motivations for work.”

There’s been a cultural shift in the current workforce, and all kinds of people are drawn to contingent work. “Learning and growing and having flexibility have risen to the top of these workplace values, even over making another dollar or two per hour or another $20,000 per year,” she says.

This isn’t a special class of workers. She says they’re the same workers who were taking W2 jobs yesterday, but now that there’s a system that allows you to work differently, they’re choosing this option.

At tilr, the company has workers who want to be “giggers” and go from one project to the next. But tilr is also attracting people who are exploring different projects and looking for a company they want work with on a permanent basis. Some other tilr workers are giggers for a while and then they go back in the traditional workforce, and then they come back as giggers.

Search Technology Isn’t Working for the Gig Economy

Miklusak says the current search technology still relies on a candidate’s job title as the main building block of recruitment. That’s not working. “What we’ve learned is that titles can actually be limiting and screen people out rather than screen them in.”

In the new workforce, people often have many different jobs over the course of their career, and their skills are more likely to reveal not only what they’re good at, but what they want to do. “Tilr doesn’t look at titles, gender, age or years of experience,” she says. It looks at skills and proficiency.

This has allowed the company to reallocate talent differently. “What we find is, let’s say Charlie did job A and job B, and he gained skills one through three at job A, and then skills four, five, and six in job B, but he’s never done job C,” she says. “Job C simply requires skills one and five, which he has from his prior two roles, so our search technology will actually present that job to Charlie, and if he accepts, because the decision’s up to him, we’ll measure the outcome of that reallocation.”

And if Charlie turns out to be a good fit, she says the algorithm starts to really learn about how you can look at skills and reallocate talent in very effective, new ways.

Interviews May Become Obsolete

As this matching process becomes more advanced, Miklusak believes it might do away with job interviews. “One of the reasons that we’ve focused on the gig economy as we started to introduce this technology to business leaders and to workers is because we do believe that it’s easier to start to make this mind shift to an algorithm without an interview for jobs with start and end dates.”

“Interviews can be really misleading because some people are great persuasive communicators, and although an interview is a great way to get to know a person and learn about their communication style, it’s often truly not indicative, nor is their title, of how they’re going to perform in the role.” So tilr has replaced the traditional interview with a few hours or days onsite in a temporary fashion, based on skills, to really see how someone performs.

However, tilr does ask workers to pass a background check, and the company speaks with every single worker by phone. “We’ve talked with over 30,000 people about their skills, ambitions, the type of jobs they’d like to see, what would really inspire them.” She says that while a human talks to them now, in the future, there might be a chatbot asking questions.

There’s a lot more to unpack here about how HR will change in the face of an increasingly contingent workforce. Let’s keep the conversation going! Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

hiring strategy

#WorkTrends: Build an A Team

Companies want to hire experts who can jump right in on day one and add value to the organization. But that recruiting strategy may be flawed. Could hiring and training inexperienced workers be a better approach?

This week on #WorkTrends, we’re talking to Whitney Johnson. She’s a seasoned leader and business coach and author of three of my favorite books, “Disrupt Yourself,” “Dare, Dream, Do,” and her latest book, “Build an A-Team, Play to Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve.”


Johnson is also a coach for Harvard Business School’s Executive Education program, a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, a LinkedIn influencer and host of the weekly Disrupt Yourself Podcast.

You can listen to the full episode below or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.

Johnson explains how the S curve can help companies make better hiring decisions.

The S Curve

When Johnson was working with Clayton Christensen at the Harvard Business School, they were looking at disruptive innovation using the S curve (popularized in 1962 by Everett Rogers to figure out when an idea is going to get adopted) to decide whether to invest in a company or not. “The big ‘aha’ that I had as we were applying this is that this S curve or learning curve could also help us understand people,” Johnson says. “If you can picture in your mind the bottom of the S, you know that when you first try something new, a lot of time’s going to pass and very little’s going to happen.” And this is what you would expect at the bottom of the S.

Source: whitneyjohnson.com

However, when you start piecing things together, you’re moving into the knee of the S; this is the steep part where everything is starting to coalesce. You stop feeling discouraged and wondering whether you know what you’re doing. “In fact, now you’re feeling increasingly competent, and with that comes confidence. And this is where you’re fully engaged in the work that you’re doing.”

After two or three years, you get to the top of the S and once again, nothing is happening. “Now it’s not because you don’t know anything, it’s because you know too much: You’ve become a master. And once you become a master, you become bored. So you need to do something new.”

The Organizational S Curve

Johnson says your organization is a collection of learning curves, and you build an A-team by managing where people are on those curves. “At any given time, you want to have 70 percent of your people in that sweet spot, that steep part of the curve,” she says. “You want to have 15 percent of your people at the low end, the ones that are inexperienced, the ones that are a little bit discouraged.” These are the people who ask why you do things a certain way.

She says you also want 15 percent of your people at the high end. They’re not necessarily learning a lot at this point, but they’re the pace-setters. “They’re the people who have this perspective, they’re on the top of the curve and they can give you a sense of what has been done and what hasn’t been done.”

By embracing the S curve, you’ll have an engaged organization where everyone is learning, and this will allow you to be innovative and competitive.

Hiring at the Wrong End of the Curve

Companies should be willing to hire at the bottom of the curve rather than at the top. We’re afraid to hire inexperienced people and train them because we think they will leave. “We know from the data and the research that one of the things that people most prize is being able to be trained,” Johnson says. “When we’re trained, that builds loyalty. So, people who are trained are less likely, not more likely, to leave.”

The Boston-based security company SimpliSafe used this approach. They hired people with no industry experience. “They wanted to train their people in-house — from their call center workers to their engineers.” By taking this approach, they sought to avoid having bored employees, because bored employees get lazy. “So, hire for potential, not for proficiency.”

Continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

recruiting challenges

#WorkTrends: The Biggest Challenges Recruiters Face

If you think recruiting has gotten more difficult, you’re not alone. What factors have made it more challenging? Is HR tech helping or hurting?

This week on #WorkTrends, we’re talking to Jack Coapman. He’s worked in the HR tech space for many years and is currently chief strategy officer at the recruiting tech company gr8 People, which is sponsoring today’s episode. Coapman joined gr8 People back in 2014 to strengthen the company’s presence in the RPO community and determine how to take its solution — a combination of candidate-relationship management, recruiting, marketing and applicant tracking — to a global audience.

You can listen to the full episode below or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.

In our conversation, Coapman identifies three challenges facing recruiters today.

External Market Pressures

“I recently learned that the number of job openings was greater than the number of unemployed job-seekers. So this was really a punch in the gut, that quite honestly, we should have seen coming,” Coapman says. However, recruiters don’t always have time to look at some of the external market sources that are changing the recruiting process.

“It’s the first time we have a market in which recruiters are responsible for looking at five different types of generations — and all of them have different expectations,” Coapman says. And the more recent generations are expecting a much richer, consumerlike recruiting experience. Recruiters have to know when and how to shift gears to be successful with candidates from each generation.

The Changing Role of the Recruiter

Coapman believes the recruiter is one of the fastest-changing roles in corporate America today. And the expectations continue to expand.

“They still need to deal with the minutia of the recruiting process, they still need to deal with those emails and the follow ups and chasing hiring managers and getting approvals,” he says. However, Coapman says recruiters are also tasked with developing talent pipelines, managing the recruiting brand, delivering a strong candidate experience and making sense of analytics.

They need to be able to not only understand what a KPI is — they need to understand what it means to the organization and what they need to do to improve it.

“And so, it takes a broader thinking and a more strategic level of thinking to look at and interpret those KPIs and turn them into actionable change within the organization,” Coapman says.

The stakes of hiring are much higher in larger organizations, and this is reflected in the many new and different titles out there. “You see recruitment brand managers, recruitment market specialists, sourcers, recruiters, college recruiting specialists, coordinators,” Coapman says. “All of a sudden, we’re getting into this delineation of the different parts of the recruiting process and whether somebody can really be a true, full-cycle recruiter, able to do everything from sourcing to nurturing and hiring and managing pipelines and onboarding and everything out there.”

Misconceptions about HR Tech

Companies don’t just want the ATS capability that comes along with their HCM. Coapman says they’re demanding (and deserving of) platforms specifically for recruiting and related functions. They need a platform that is 100 percent focused on the art of discovering talent, engaging talent and bringing it into the organization. There are a lot of shiny new toys out there, but organizations must focus on how they’re integrating all of these components.

Coapman believes there needs to be a greater understanding of what an API is, and companies also need to understand that an easy-to-use UI may not be able to support more complex requirements. “So many times, we find that organizations may make a very quick decision on the nicest-looking platform, and a year later, when the company has grown and changed, that platform is not able to keep up with those complex requirements.” He advises organizations to really understand what’s happening in their company, and then find the technologies that make the most sense.

In addition, Coapman says technology will never replace the value of a one-on-one conversation. “Recruiters need to quantify the value of the organization and sell that person on the opportunity to join that company.”

Continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

This episode of #WorkTrends is sponsored by gr8 People.

What We Can Learn About HR From New Paychex Research

#WorkTrends: What We Can Learn About HR From New Paychex Research

It’s no secret that the role of HR and HR technology is changing rapidly. If you want your organization to remain agile and competitive, it’s more important than ever to stay plugged in to the latest trends.

This week on #WorkTrends, we’re talking about the state of HR with Cory Mau and Leah Machado from Paychex. The Paychex team just released their second annual Pulse of HR Survey, and in this episode we discuss what they’ve uncovered.

You can listen to the full episode below, or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.

The Digital Transformation Is Here

There’s no question about it — the digital transformation is also transforming HR. Cory Mau makes the point that employee self-service has gone from being a nice-to-have to a must-have in HR. Paychex found that 73% of employees expect their employer to offer a high level of self-service that allows them to complete HR tasks on their own. “They don’t want to call in; they don’t want to fill out a form; they want to go online,” says Mau. “Employees want tools and solutions so that they can make their workplace more like how they conduct their personal lives.”

Out of all the trends seen in this year’s survey, Mau was most surprised by the fact that over half (58%) of respondents said they are using some form of AI. He believes most businesses are in the early stages of truly implementing and leveraging AI. The question moving forward will be how effective HR professionals are at turning AI solutions into action.

Despite all the gains, the survey showed that businesses could be doing more to leverage automation. Tracking employees’ time was the number two challenge cited by HR leaders. This immediately jumped out to Mau and Machado, who assert that there are many effective time and attendance solutions out there. “If you’re spending even a quarter of your time tracking down employees to record their time, which we know a lot of businesses are still doing via these manual processes, you’re still giving yourself less time to focus on what really matters — strategic activities like engagement and retention,” Mau says.

The Role of HR Is Evolving

This year, Paychex added some timely questions to the survey around crucial movements impacting HR — things like #metoo, #timesup, and the ongoing dialogue around pay equity. They found that 65% of organizations have updated harassment and discrimination policies in the past twelve months and that 67% have reevaluated their pay practices this year with an eye on pay equity. “This is a case of the data really telling the story of the past year for HR leaders,” says Machado. “Harassment and pay equity are definitely top of mind. In fact, requests [from Paychex clients] to review policies in both of these areas came in with much more frequency this year.”

Data from the survey also shows that 80% of HR leaders feel that they have a strategic influence on their organization, something Machado can attest to herself. “HR’s role has continued to evolve as a strategic partner and a critical contributor to the company’s success versus being viewed as just a call center,” she says.

The flip side of this transformation is that higher demands are being placed on HR professionals, and therefore higher stress. While 78% of respondents reported feeling stressed at work in both 2017 and 2018, “about three quarters would still recommend HR as a profession,” says Machado. “That tells me that there’s an increased sense of value and purpose in the profession. The work that HR is doing is rewarding. It’s making a difference in business today.”

Continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

This episode of #WorkTrends is sponsored by Paychex.


#WorkTrends: Onboarding Is the New Black

It’s your first day at a new job. You’re excited and nervous, but ready to do great work. You show up at your new office and find… chaos. Or worse, no one’s there to greet you. You’re confused and unsure, and then you spend your first day waiting around and filling out HR forms.

There has to be a better way, and this week on #WorkTrends, we’re talking about how to improve the onboarding experience with Jess Von Bank. Jess has been working in the talent space for 15 years, and she’s currently leading the charge for better onboarding through her role at Click Boarding, this year’s UNLEASH America startup competition winner.

You can listen to the full episode below, or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.

Rethinking the First Day

Jess has worked in recruiting departments and for companies focused on the candidate experience. That made her first day at Click Boarding earlier this year even more eye-opening. “It was stunning to me that I’d just had my first great onboarding experience, my best first day ever,” she says. “That’s saying something, when I work in an industry focused on providing great experiences to talent that we work really hard to win. That tells me onboarding is still a massive opportunity.”

At Click Boarding, her onboarding experience actually didn’t start on her first day. It started well before, right after she said “yes” to the job offer. “Immediately after that, I received a branded mobile invitation to a highly personalized onboarding experience that welcomed me to the team,” she says. “It started teasing out all of the information that I would need to hit the ground running. It answered questions for me preemptively. It started preparing me to show up ready to contribute.”

By the time she showed up for her first day, she says she felt “welcomed, anticipated, appreciated, excited, familiar — like I was here to make a difference.”

If you want to tweak your onboarding process, Jess suggests focusing on the little moments that matter. “We’ve all been a new hire. We’ve all had first days at new jobs. Think about the moments that matter. Try to find a consistent way to provide those touchpoints to reduce anxiety and make them feel welcomed and ready to be productive for you. Reach out and talk to your new hires. Tell them what to expect.”

Why Onboarding Matters

“How does great onboarding make an employee show up and feel welcomed, and feel like they’ve made a great first impression? And what does that mean to the business? I think that’s the opportunity for onboarding,” she says.

These little moments matter to the bottom line. When onboarding is done well, it pays for itself — and then some, she says. “All of the investment you make at the top end of the funnel, all of the talent-attraction strategies, the recruitment-marketing methodology, the personalized candidate experience, all of that goes to waste if you don’t bring them into the business well and get them to be an employee who you can retain and drive to productivity.”

“SHRM has published research that says people who aren’t onboarded well will leave sooner,” she says. “That’s a financial hit to the organization. Four percent of new hires won’t even come back after their first day, usually because of a lack of information or a bad experience. Some organizations report a 20 percent attrition rate in the first 45 days. Anything you look at in the early days probably has a lot to do with missing the boat on driving engagement. Sure, there’s wrong-fit hiring. Other things could have happened to lead to that. But usually, it’s something that could’ve been addressed with a better onboarding experience.”

Continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

people analytics

#WorkTrends: The Power of People Data

“People analytics” is a term that gets a lot of people (myself included!) very excited. But the idea of people analytics isn’t exactly new anymore. So the question now is, how are we using people data to uncover important insights and then actually act on them?

This week on #WorkTrends, we’re talking to a people-analytics pro, Kate Hastings, senior director of insights at LinkedIn, about how HR is using people data to eliminate bias, close the gender gap and drive better outcomes.

You can listen to the full episode below, or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.


Welcoming the Age of People Analytics

Hastings says that just seeing job descriptions about people analytics is exciting. Her background is in management consulting, and she remembers the first time she saw the term, in a job description at Gartner. “Not many people get inspired by job descriptions, but it talked about using an organization’s data to make better people decisions and how important that was to the overall corporate strategy and bottom line,” she says.

“I was so inspired, because I felt like this was an underused opportunity for analytics.” She knew she could bring her analytical mindset to make an impact on issues she cared about — making work a great experience, helping people be more productive and making organizations more successful through people.

But she admits that she hadn’t often thought about “data” and “HR” in the same sentence: “When I had worked with HR in the past, that hadn’t been the most data-driven part of the organization, and I felt like there was really an opportunity to bring that data mindset and make better decisions for everyone.”

The real draw of people analytics is making more fair, consistent decisions about people at work, she says: “It feels like we’re all on the same page.” In other words, math evens the playing field.

Using Data to Address Big Challenges

Big challenges like diversity, the gender gap and bias in hiring are on leaders’ minds, and Hastings says people analytics can help. “In a recent LinkedIn survey, we asked recruiting leaders about the trends they’re most interested in, and diversity was number one. People are really thinking about how we can make our organizations stronger.”

She says the first step is quantifying the problem. For example, she says, “we’ve always known there was an issue in terms of the gender gap in leadership, and the big step forward is that we’re able to quantify it. That’s allowing us to do all kinds of things toward solving it. We’re nowhere near solving it yet, but we have a sense of how large the problem is and we understand some of the opportunities.” She points to metrics about what happens when an organization has more gender balance and diversity: There’s a positive correlation to better performance. Once we can quantify both the problem and the potential outcome of making major change, we can start to build programs to get us there.

The Next Phase: Breaking Down Silos

Hastings has seen a change happening in HR over the past 15 years. HR has followed the lead of other functions, like marketing, to pay closer attention to collecting and studying data and making more informed decisions.

But we still have a long way to go. She points to a recent Deloitte study that shows only 8 percent of companies feel like they have usable data about talent.

“I think the next frontier is breaking down silos,” she says. Instead of thinking about a very compartmentalized set of activities (“First we recruit you, then we onboard you, then we make sure your rewards are what they should be and then we train you”), she hopes HR can think about the entire end-to-end journey.

Part of breaking down those silos is working across functions. “McKinsey has been talking about how the CHRO and the CFO and the CEO need to work together as a group of three to really think about how to implement change in their organizations, and I love the idea of people-first organizations working in that way,” she says.

Continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

Social Screening and the Future of Talent Acquisition

#WorkTrends: Social Screening and the Future of Talent Acquisition

You can learn a lot about job candidates by their social media profiles and posts. But how do you accurately and fairly screen applicants, at scale? What’s legal, and what’s appropriate when it comes to social media screening?

This week on #WorkTrends, we’re talking to Bianca Lager, president of Social Intelligence, a background-screening company with a focus on social media. Social Intelligence launched in 2010 to provide employers with pre-employment screening that’s ethical and applicable. Social Intelligence is the only social media background check company that has been reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission.

You can listen to the full episode below, or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.


What is Social Media Screening?

You may be wondering, “What is social media screening?” According to Lager, “it’s getting data from social media, understanding what people are saying online, what kind of content they’re creating and then applying that in a background-screening capacity to an employment decision.” Lager says Social Intelligence was an early pioneer in the industry.

But social screening isn’t about just Googling a job candidate’s name, which is time consuming and can results in errors. “We invest really heavily in machine learning to automate and scale social media screenings,” Lager says. Social Intelligence can identify and analyze people’s social profiles quickly, which is important to companies of any size, but especially large organizations with a lot of candidates to sort through.

But Social Intelligence isn’t interested in posts about the time you had too much to drink and took a photo with a lampshade on your head. “We’re looking for really egregious behaviors, things like racism, violence, bullying, stuff that can really affect the workplace.” Some people may wonder if it’s right or ethical to search for this type of information, but Lager says, “People are already Googling you.”

Why You Shouldn’t Do Your Own Manual Social Media Screening

While some companies believe that they can conduct their own social media background checks, Lager says there are several reasons why they shouldn’t. First, she says, your boss or the person hiring you should not be looking at your Facebook profile. “They shouldn’t know what church you go to, they shouldn’t know your sexual orientation or all sorts of other factors that could bias them against you in a hiring or employment decision.” And Social Intelligence doesn’t focus on that type of information.

She says it’s also a waste of time and resources for companies to conduct their own pre-employment checks. “When you have an intern in HR Googling someone, it’s probably not the best use of their time — and you’re exposing at least one person to a bunch of information that just shouldn’t be seen.”

Companies also run the risk of screening the wrong person. “John Smith might not be putting out real information on himself in terms of date of birth, et cetera, so how are you actually getting to the bottom of that?” Social Intelligence has worked with some of the top employment lawyers in the country to develop processes that align with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission did a full audit of the company. “We had to answer some questions from the Senate Privacy Committee, and the FTC determined that Social Intelligence was acting as a consumer reporting agency when we provide these types of reports for employment purposes.”

Why Human Input is Still Important

As great as artificial intelligence is, Lager says that human input is still important. A machine can’t detect whether someone is being sarcastic or not, so a human needs to step in and provide emotional intelligence and context. “That’s why we have a review program, very similar to Facebook, to make sure that we understand the innuendos, the sarcasm, whatever it is, at a human level.”

Say that someone uses the phrase “filthy pig.” “If you’re saying it aggressively, or in a threatening way, or as a derogatory term against police officers, that’s the type of thing that we double-check for, and our human analysis is there, too.” Because, she says, you could just be talking about your filthy pig farm — which is perfectly acceptable.

Continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

This week’s #WorkTrends is sponsored by Social Intelligence. Visit http://socialintel.com/podcast to get 10 free social media hiring reports.

talent acquisition

#WorkTrends: The Talent Fix

The labor market is humming right along, and competition for good workers is stiff. Is your talent-acquisition process also humming like a finely tuned machine, or are you pointing fingers at each other because you can’t recruit good employees?

This week on #WorkTrends, we’re talking to Tim Sackett about ways to improve talent acquisition. Sackett is a 20-year HR professional who has led HR organizations and worked for HR tech vendors.

You can listen to the full episode below, or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends. His new book, “The Talent Fix,” is a guide for building a better talent-acquisition team.

The Talent Ownership Question

Who owns talent right now? Sackett says that’s the one question he really tries to force every head of HR or talent acquisition to ask their executive team. Most executives will assume you want their vote of confidence and will say, “You do, you’re the person who owns it.” However, he says that’s the wrong answer, and that this type of thinking will lead to failure. Ownership has to belong to the people who actually make the selection — it has to be the hiring managers at the ground level.

“If you took your team out on a team-building exercise tomorrow and you guys got hit by a train and everybody died, your organization wouldn’t stop,” Sackett says. “The hiring manager would attend your funeral and mourn your loss and then say, ‘By the way, we have to fill this developer position.’ ” And they would go through the process of trying to find someone.

While that’s a worst-case scenario, Sackett says the goal of every company should be to let hiring managers own their own team, and own their own talent. The role of HR and talent acquisition should be a partner that provides assistance. When you’re in a meeting and someone asks, “Hey Mary, why aren’t you filling that position on your team?” and the response is that TA isn’t finding anyone, that’s an epic fail. “Executives should look Mary in the face and say, ‘What are you talking about recruiting for? Your job is to fill your team. What are you doing?’ ”

What Talent Ownership Looks Like

If you’re not familiar with this concept, it might seem inconceivable, but there are companies successfully using these principles. “I ran TA for Applebee’s, which has roughly 2,000 restaurants and 125,000 employees,” Sackett says. He notes the chain has a general manager who is the top person at each location. “They tell every GM that ‘you’re not going to be a victim; you’re never going to complain about not having enough talent, because talent acquisition is your responsibility.’ ”

Complaining about staffing is seen as saying, “You need to replace me, I’m no good at my job,” because that’s their No. 1 job, Sackett says. So a GM needs to be great at recruiting or great at retention, and they can ask HR and TA for help. “They’ll prop you up and they will give you every resource they have to help you, but you have to own it,” Sackett says.

Building the Right Talent-Acquisition Team

Sackett has worked in recruiting, so he’s been on both sides of the desk. He runs a staffing firm and worked in staffing, but also spent about a decade on the corporate TA side. One thing he said he has noticed is that half of these team members really aren’t recruiters. “They love being a recruiter in a corporate job, they love that $85,000 salary, and they love working 9 to 5 and not taking work home — but they’re not recruiters.” He says they may be doing
administrative recruiting, such as posting a job on their career site, but then they sit around waiting for somebody to apply before plowing that person through their process, and that’s not real recruiting.

But Sackett says that when he talks to TA leaders, they don’t want to let these non-recruiters go because they’re “great people.” “I’m not saying they’re bad people — I’m saying they’re not recruiters, and you want to recruit a team but you’re asking people who don’t want to recruit to be recruiters,” he says.

He says it’s like being a hunter who doesn’t want to kill — but hunters have to kill. “Recruiting is all about going out and finding the best talent. It’s not about filtering through the talent that is available that wants to come to work for your average pay, your average benefits and your average location.”

Also, even if you get great people, you can’t bring them into the organization and ask them to do the same administrative job as the previous employees. “You have to change the culture internally to make it more of a marketing-/sales-driven culture, more of an activity-based culture,” he says. “You actually have to have really great measurables and actually hold them accountable to those, so it’s basic performance management.”

Talent Acquisition Isn’t Technology

In addition, Sackett cautions against looking to HR technology as a savior. Often, he says, the new tech you might look at probably will do 90 percent to 95 percent of what your old tech does. “If you already suck at recruiting, the technology’s just going to make you suck faster, because that’s what technology does” — it allows you to move faster and more efficiently, but it doesn’t make you better at your job. “You already have to be good at recruiting, and then technology will actually make you better at it,” he says.

Continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

HR tech

#WorkTrends: The Future of HR Tech

Technology is disrupting everything, and HR is no exception. The tools and platforms available for today’s HR teams are light-years ahead of what we worked with 10 years ago. What does this new tech mean for recruitment, talent management and other HR functions? I talked to one of the smartest people in the HR tech world to get her take.

This week on #WorkTrends, we’re talking to Anna Ott about what’s next in HR tech. Anna is head of HR tech startups for UNLEASH. Last week at UNLEASH America in Las Vegas, I joined hundreds of other HR tech analysts, practitioners and vendors to think about how work and HR are changing.

You can listen to the full episode below, or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.

HR Problems Technology Can Solve

Anna has spent the past 18 years working at digital companies — especially startups — and has held various HR-related roles. “I believe we are in a renaissance of HR as it has regained its strategic value of shaping organizations in the Fourth Revolution,” she says. “I am driven by enabling HR practitioners to be a stronger partner, feel more tech-savvy and enabled to shape the future of work.”

No one goes into HR because they love the repetition of filling out forms and going through the same processes over and over again. Most people sign up to work in HR because they want to work with people. “I think anything that automates processes and reduces the administrative work of HR is definitely something that we all appreciate,” she says.

Anna also acknowledges that, as humans, we struggle with unconscious bias during the recruitment process, and she believes that technology can remove human factors that tend toward partiality — and even create new ways to approach problems.

In March of this year at UNLEASH London, she met the team at Vault Platform that is working on a project that never would have been on the radar even a year ago. “They are trying to face the #MeToo debate by building a counter-harassment platform on blockchain,“ Anna says.

HR Issues Technology May Create

While she’s passionate about the possibilities that new technology brings, Anna is keenly aware of the risks and uncertainties involved.

Some solutions are helpful, but she says they could also be hurtful at a certain point. “It’s always two-sided. For example, when you look at security detection and skill-matching, at which point do we become too transparent?”

There’s a chance that people will reveal too much of themselves for the sake of developing in their careers and learning new things and trying to be a match to great jobs, she cautions. At the same time, she says, “At what point does it feel scary if a company monitors everything I do and everything I write, or the chats that I do within my company, or all the documents I create on Google?”

Another issue is just trying to manage all of the point solutions in the HR tech market. “HR people and practitioners can’t orchestrate a solution landscape of 100 different small things,” she says. There needs to be a more holistic approach.

Taking the HR Technology Plunge

For HR people who want to understand what HR tech can do for them and their organization, Anna recommends starting with one particular problem in need of a solution. “Try to find people who either have tackled this before,” she says. “Find peers, or look at those people who actually observe the market as I do, or analysts or thought leaders.”

She also recommends going to HR tech startups, talking to them, looking at their solutions, watching demos and meeting with them at conferences or HR tech competitions.

“When I was in my corporate payroll employment job, previous to UNLEASH, I wanted to eliminate the CV in the hiring process, but I didn’t know where to start,” she says. She spoke with a lot of startups that she thought might have a solution, and found one company that used video interviews instead of CVs.

“We actually sat down, created a new candidate experience and process, and then we eliminated the CV in my hiring process with their tool.” But she says it was a trial-and-error process — an experiment.

A year later, she switched from video interviews to chatbots, so she needed to speak with a chatbot startup about recruitment. Again, she labelled it as an experiment so it would be OK to fail, learn from that mistake, then pivot.

Anna is now a big advocate of chatbots. “Most of people looking actively for jobs want instant information,” she says. They want to have an instant response on the salary, location and other core details of a job. “In fact, in our chatbot at my previous company, people wouldn’t even write whole sentences,” she says. They would write “dog to work” to find out if they could bring their dog to work. She says candidates were comfortable doing that because they knew they were talking to a machine. Another benefit of that automation? “Chatbots also help us to get back to candidates and re-engage with those people that probably haven’t applied yet, allowing us to tap into a new pool of potential candidates.”

Continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific, or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.


#WorkTrends: What Modern HR Looks Like

HR is undergoing a transformation. In fact, the very definition of HR is changing. But is that good or bad, and how will these changes affect you? Keep reading to discover what’s on the horizon for the HR profession.

This week on #WorkTrends, we’re talking to Dawn Burke about the future of HR. She is an HR specialist with more than 20 years of experience. You may have seen her speaking at HR conferences or writing for sites like Fistful of Talent. These days, she runs a consulting firm and blogs about helping HR teams think differently about where work is going. Welcome to WorkTrends, Dawn!

You can listen to the full episode below, or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.

This Isn’t Your Parents’ HR

Dawn has been practicing HR for 20 years, and she is a big proponent of the new HR. But, she says, before we talk about new HR, we need to define the old HR. “Old HR function was driven by compliance,” she explains. “We evolved from the payroll function and being prevalent in the time of a lot of compliance law.” In other words, the primary job was policing policies to make sure the company didn’t get sued — along with being involved in the recruiting process.

However, that type of HR isn’t going to push businesses forward in the modern workplace. Dawn says the new HR is about being people leaders. “HR’s value is in understanding and uncovering corporate culture, what employers truly value, not the values on the wall. And as corporate connectors — connecting people to their purpose and passion as it relates to the company’s mission, goals and results.”

She thinks modern HR professionals should become subject-matter experts and teach managers and leaders how to run HR within their own functions.

Many people understand the concept of being more holistic, and Dawn says they typically fall into one of three groups: either they’re making the switch to a holistic HR function, or they know they should make the switch, but can’t prioritize the time. “And the third group really likes compliance. They like being a practitioner, and I think they’re going to struggle in the next five to 10 years if they don’t become more holistic.”

Why Leaders Aren’t Prepared (or Even Preparing)

HR can’t change itself. The company’s executives have to provide approval and support for initiating and implementing changes. However, Dawn says, this is problematic for several reasons.

Research shows 89 percent of leaders believe building an organization of the future is important, but only 11 percent know how to do this. “In one survey, high-level executives admitted it was important to rebuild the organization, focus on leadership development, implement new recruiting trends and a lot of HR- and people-related projects.” However, these same executives listed their priorities as finance, marketing research and development and customer support. HR was at the bottom. “You can’t rebuild your culture if you’re deprioritizing HR,” Dawn says.

“Another problem is that executives are beholden to shareholders or private equity investors. The M&A culture is alive and well in America.” Dawn says equity groups are run by financiers who have financial objectives and may see not see HR as a priority.

“In addition, executives are the last ones to prioritize reskilling themselves, and often feel they don’t need to go to training because they don’t have time. So even if they say they believe in training, and set aside money for their employees to be trained, they’re not modeling it.” As a result, Dawn says, their next-in-command is following their actions and deciding they they don’t need to do it, either.

Yet another problem is that executives may not realize how quickly corporate strategies change. “There’s no such thing as a future strategy.” In the past, companies would roll out a plan at the beginning of the year and figure out what they wanted to achieve in the next 12 months. However, she says their plans might change in three months. And executives aren’t doing well in terms of adjusting to disruptions and creating more agile strategy plans.

Simplifying HR

Dawn believes that HR is overthinking a lot of things, and recommends thinking smaller. In fact, she suggests that big organizations look at smaller companies to get ideas on how to think smaller.

These are the three things that HR should focus on:

  • Your job is to present people with options. If someone comes to you with an employee-relations issue, you should tell them you think the idea is great, and then say, “Now, based on my expertise, I’m going to give you a second and a third option.” And then let them choose the option they want.
  • Your job is to mitigate risk — not stop risk. Across the board, stop thinking that it’s your job to stop a train wreck from happening by providing a worst-case scenario. Try this instead: “I like your idea of how to handle this employee, and the risk that it will get us into trouble is low, so go for it.” She advises HR to stop trying to make sure everything is 100 percent perfect to avoid getting in trouble. Because honestly, when was the last time you got into trouble for doing that?
  • Find ways to say yes. This doesn’t mean you always say yes. This doesn’t mean you always say, “That’s a great idea.” But when you start saying yes, it reshapes the way that you think about things strategically and tactically. “It was a successful mantra for my team, because it will help you start in a better place and people are more likely to want to work with you,” she says.

Continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

mindfulness leader

#WorkTrends: The Mind of the Leader

If you’ve ever wanted to know how to handle pressure and build great relationships as a leader, keep reading.

This week on #WorkTrends, we’re talking to Jacqueline Carter about mindfulness. Jacqueline has been researching mindfulness for more than 10 years. She’s also the author of two books, “One Second Ahead” and “The Mind of the Leader.”

You can listen to the full episode below, or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.

Understand the Benefits of Mindfulness

While Jacqueline has spent over a decade researching mindfulness, she’s actually been practicing it for over 20 years. When she started out in her career with Deloitte, her aim was to be a high performer. Jacqueline noticed that, due to her personal practice of training her mind to be more calm, more focused and more clear, she was well-equipped for whatever happened in that fast-paced environment. “It was something that was a real personal advantage for me, as I saw myself rising up through the ranks and continuing to experience more complexity and more demands in my role,” she says.
She realized that mindfulness wasn’t just something that was beneficial to her on a personal level. “This is actually something that I think can be so beneficial for all of us in the workplace.”

Practice Simple Mindfulness Strategies

Mindfulness isn’t a complex process that requires extensive training. In fact, Jacqueline suggests one simple mindfulness strategy to practice: “Turn off all notifications.” She admits that may be a daunting task for most people, who may worry that they’ll miss an important text or email. That’s because we think it’s beneficial to receive notifications in real time to stay abreast of whatever is happening. However, the opposite is true. “Every time we are distracted by a pop-up message, it takes away our focus. It makes it more difficult to get back to what we are doing, and it actually increases our stress levels.”

Be Present

Jacqueline’s book “The Mind of the Leader” is the result of a two-year research study of 250 C-suite executives and 35,000 leaders at different levels in 72 countries. The research reveals three qualities that leaders need to survive and thrive, and to create more engagement and productivity. “It was more than just mindfulness. It’s so critical for leaders to be able to be present. And if you, as a leader, are not present with your people, you’re wasting your time and you’re wasting theirs,” she says.

In addition to mindfulness and presence, leaders need compassion. Look at ways you can be beneficial to your team and colleagues. Most leaders believe that they do this. But when leaders are under pressure, they might ask, “How are you today?” without really even wanting an answer.

That’s why it’s important to really make time to listen to and demonstrate care for others. And this does more than just build trust and engagement. “The research shows that it actually helps us be more creative,” she says. “We get more from each other when we’re together, when it’s about the team and when we really care about each other.”

Continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

the recruiter’s handbook

#WorkTrends: The Recruiter’s Handbook

How strong are your recruiting muscles? Does your organization work every day on improving recruiting skills?

In my experience, recruiting is often overlooked and downplayed. Even people who work in other areas of HR don’t always understand how important recruiting is in the employee journey.

This week on #WorkTrends, we’re talking to Sharlyn Lauby, president of consulting firm ITM Group and founder of HR Bartender, about a subject close to my heart: better recruiting. Sharlyn recently wrote a book, “The Recruiter’s Handbook,” that outlines how to improve your recruiting skills every step of the way.

You can listen to the full episode below, or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.

Realize the Importance of Recruiting

“The recruiting function is important because it’s the first impression many people have of the organization. Employees remember the person who hired them,” she says.

But she didn’t always understand how important recruiting is. Sharlyn was an HR generalist, and when a boss first gave her the task of recruiting, she felt like it was a punishment. But once she took over the role, she realized how complex and weighty recruiting was.

“I’ve always worked in industries where the candidate could also be a customer,” she says. That dual role of candidate and customer means it’s important that everyone in the organization realizes that people who are coming in to apply for jobs are the same people who are purchasing rooms in your hotel or meals from your restaurant. “You have to think about the candidate/customer experience at every touchpoint along the way,” she says.

Work Together Across the Employee Experience

There’s a healthy debate among recruiters and HR leaders about where talent acquisition fits in a company’s org chart. Sharlyn says the answer to that question doesn’t really matter — what matters is how well talent acquisition teams work with other HR teams to streamline the candidate and employee experience. From recruiting to training to benefits, the experience needs to be easy and logical.

Embrace Every Resource Available

Technology has changed every aspect of HR, Sharlyn says. She sees big potential for recruiters who can use all the tools available, including social media. In the old days, we had to amplify opportunities on a personal, one-to-one level, she says. These days, social media makes getting the word out about an organization much easier and faster. She encourages companies to embrace social media and encourage employees to use it in ways that advance their work.

She also encourages HR professionals and other leaders to seek out professional organizations like SHRM, as well as local training programs and leadership-development classes.

Make Your Mark

If you’re working in talent acquisition and you want to make an impact on the business, Sharlyn says you should start by understanding the core drivers of the business. “Show people how things like interviewing are connected to the mission, vision and values of the organization. We need to know how we contribute to the organization and how we’re going to make our mark. Understand how the business operates, the key positions within the organization and how they contribute to the bottom line.”

Continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.

employer brand

#WorkTrends: Why You Need a Talent Brand, Not an Employer Brand

This week on #WorkTrends, agency founder and author Lee Caraher has a wake-up call for all of us. Her message? We need to stop focusing on our “employer brand” and start building a talent brand.

You can listen to the full episode below, or keep reading for this week’s topic. Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #WorkTrends.

Find a Better Way to Retain Millennials

Back in 2008, Lee had a problem — a big one. Her agency, Double Forte, couldn’t retain millennial employees. At first she figured it must be the millennials’ problem, but when they kept quitting she realized it was the organization’s problem.

She was reading negative headlines everywhere about millennials when she decided to stop looking for answers elsewhere and build her own solution. “I rejected everything bad that I heard,” she says. She knew finding a solution mattered: “A business without millennials is a business without a future,” she says.

She recommends one big change to anyone leading a team: Build a culture of appreciation. “The research shows that teams that feel appreciated outperform those that don’t by 30 percent. I grew up in a household where ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ were implied,” she says. “I thought people knew I appreciated them, but they didn’t. So I started saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ and by the end of the month everyone else was saying it too. Our nonbillable time went down. People worked better, faster and more efficiently.

“This is a human trait, not a millennial trait. We all work better when we’re appreciated. People come to our office now and say ‘You guys are so nice to each other.’ But that didn’t just happen. You have to practice.”

Through trial and error and a lot of hard work, the company tripled the tenure for people under 30 — to 4 1/2 years.

Create a Talent Magnet

Building an employer brand is about building a great place to work. That’s really become “an arms race of perks,” Lee says — the best paternity leave, free lunch, laundry on-site. “But the best talent is not inspired by perks. The people who are going to drive your business aren’t inspired by free lunch. They are inspired by being around other great people.”

Instead of trying to build an employer brand, Lee’s team focused on building a talent brand — a company known for attracting great talent. That distinction will only become more important as organizations compete for top talent, she says. “If you’re known as a talent brand where great people come to work, you’re going to have a strategic advantage over just being a great place to work.”

Build a Place for Boomerangs

“If you’re born today, you have a 50 percent chance of living to 104,” she says. “We’re going to be working for 60, 70 years, people. There’s no way that one company can hold someone for 70 years.” Because of that change, companies have to think differently about their alumni — former employees. “If we’re going to be sustainable, we have to break the old paradigm of ‘If you leave, you’re dead to me,’ ” she says. “When someone leaves that may not reflect on us at all. It’s all about the person crafting their career.”

So, it’s normal and expected for someone to leave, but if you have a strong talent brand, you might be able to get them back to your organization down the line. “Inspire loyalty for that person’s entire career,” she says.

Continue the conversation. Join us on Twitter (#WorkTrends) for our weekly chat on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 a.m. Pacific or anywhere in the world you are joining from to discuss this topic and more.